Club rugby lead shifts
Grammar Carlton slipped into second place on the Auckland premier club rugby competition table behind Ponsonby after a 20-18 loss against Suburbs on Saturday.
The defeat comes after the side lost 11 players to the New Zealand under-20s side, an Auckland training camp to Queensland, family commitments and injury.
Grammar Carlton coach Brandon Jackson says he originally expected to have his Auckland players available for the game.
But he accepts Auckland training takes priority and club rugby sometimes has to come “bottom of the heap”.
Despite the loss, which ended a nine game winning streak, Jackson says his side should still have won the match.
“We missed a couple of kicks and tackles and missed three opportunities for tries.
“I’m disappointed but not too upset.”
Jackson hopes to have his Auckland players, including key play-maker Lachie Munro, back for next week’s match against Eden-Roskill.
However, with the players arriving back from Australia in the early hours of Saturday morning, Jackson is unsure whether they will be able to take the field.
Meanwhile, Ponsonby coach Simon Scott is pleased with his side’s 81-0 victory over East Tamaki.
“The pleasing thing is the zero score,” he says.
“We’ve lacked a bit in defence this year. The key to being successful against other teams is if they don’t score.”
Although his side moved into first spot after their latest match, Scott knows they have their work cut out for them in the next three weeks with matches against top-eight contenders Marist, Waitemata and Waitakere.
Te Papapa-Mt Wellington suffered a narrow loss against Papatoetoe, going down 16-13, while EdenRoskill went down to University 31-23.
This Saturday Ponsonby face old foes Marist at Liston Park, Eden-Roskill host Grammar Carlton at Gribblehirst Park and Te PapapaMt Wellington play Teachers Eastern at Fergusson Park.
All matches start at 2.45pm.
Climbing the mountain: Mt Albert Grammar’s Dakota Lucas embarks on a high flying challenge on Mangere United’s Surfsraz Ali during their Chatham Cup clash on Saturday.